Housing help: Collier County commissioners have approved a 50-acre, $41.5 affordable housing community in Immokalee. The project, which could include up to 179 single-family and town house rentals at the northeast corner the intersection of Westclox Street and Carson Road, is expected to break ground in late 2024. For now, though, the groups behind it are in the fundraising stage with the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation — which is not affiliated with other entities bearing the Pulte name — leading the way with a $7 million commitment to the project. The foundation did not respond to a request for details on the property, in the eastern part of the county. According to a post by the foundation on the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce's website, that money is for the land, entitlements and land development. The Nuestra Senora de la Vivienda Community Foundation, a nonprofit established to oversee the construction and management of the community, is applying for state funding to cover construction and for services later. The plan calls for the community to be built in three phases, with 64 homes in the first phase. Along with the residences, the plan is to build an early childhood education center for up to 250 students in the community, walkable streets, shaded outdoor spaces and a clubhouse. There will also be community liaison staff to help residents find resources.
Deluxe apartment: Sales are underway at a new condo development coming to Naples. The Augusterra Group has begun marketing its soon-to-be downtown property The Huxley, set to be built at 331 Eighth Street South. Construction is expected to begin early next year. The Huxley will have eight units ranging in size from 3,733 square feet to 6,674 square feet. Prices for a unit in the three-story building are in the “mid-seven million dollars” range, according to announcement by the Naples developer. Units will have private elevators and private garages for four to six cars as well as dual individual grand suite closets, grand suite bathrooms with dual private water closets and a butler’s pantry along with other amenities. And the building will have a residents’ lounge with a wet bar and boardroom. William Raveis Real Estate is the broker for the project. Augusterra is nearing completion of Stella Naples, an mixed-use development which is scheduled to be done early next year.
Hiring frenzy: Whether you call it much-anticipated or much delayed, the Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor has made several big hires for its culinary team. The list of new employees is long, but Anthony Aviles has been named director of food and beverage for the resort and Kory Foltz its executive chef. Both are highly accomplished in the industry, with Aviles working at the Longboat Key Club, Lido Beach Resort and Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. And Foltz spent 16 years with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in Sarasota, Tampa Bay, Boston Harbor and the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa. The 785-room Sunseeker will have 20 restaurants and bars when it opens later this year. To date, the resort says 800 job offers have been accepted and more than 300 employees have been brought on board.
No tell hotel: A Hampton Inn in Tampa has sold. According to Hillsborough County property records, the Hampton Inn Tampa Veterans Expressway was bought for $13.7 million — $1.1 million more than what it sold for in 2018. Property records show the buyer was an LLC named Big Tampa. Its address belongs to a strip mall on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The LLC’s managers, according to state records, are Sanjay and Dave Patel. The five-story hotel, at 5628 W. Waters Ave., is between Benjamin and Anderson roads, about a half mile from the expressway and north of Tampa International Airport. According to county property records, it was built in 2000 and has 86 rooms.
Gone to pot: Rise Dispensaries has opened a store in Brandon, further adding to the ever-growing number of cannabis retailers along the Gulf Coast. This is the company’s ninth store in Florida. It also has stores in Tampa, Pinellas Park and Bonita Springs. The sale of cannabis, once mostly the purview of high school kids in jean jackets and guys in funky smelling dorm rooms, has now gone completely mainstream. The new shop, at 420 W. Brandon Blvd., is on a busy suburban commercial corridor between a coffee shop and McDonald’s and across the street from a Dollar General and Office Depot. If that weren’t proof enough, a grand opening ceremony set for Oct. 26 was to include representatives from the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce. Rise is owned by Green Thumb Industries, which operates growing facilities in Ocala and Homestead.
In search of: An expanding Utah-based drive-thru soda chain is looking for space along the Gulf Coast. Swig, known as the home of the Original Dirty Soda, has announced it is opening 250 new shops in seven markets. Among those is Florida. The company’s owner, the Larry H. Miller Co., did not set a timeline, but says shops in Arkansas, Idaho and Missouri would open later this year. The company, though, is actively looking in the Sunshine State. The Sarasota commercial real estate firm Ian Black Real Estate sent out a marketing blast last week announcing Swig is “seeking sites from Manatee to Collier counties.” Among the features it’s looking for is 670-square-foot to 1,200-square-foot spaces with high visibility, strong traffic and that are near hospitals and a density of quick service restaurants. According to the Food Network, a dirty soda “is basically an alcohol-free mocktail” that uses traditional soda as a base and adds flavoring. Swig, which first opened outside Salt Lake City in 2010, has at least 39 sodas on its menu including the Jolly Elf, with ingredients include Mountain Dew, passion fruit, strawberry puree and fresh orange.
If you have news, notes or tips you want to pass along, contact LLLov[email protected]. Or you can text or call 727-371-6944.
Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.